ILOILO CITY – Residents of the island province of Guimaras are appealing to the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to allow wooden-hulled boats to ferry passengers along the body of water separating Guimaras from Iloilo City even after these were ordered phased out.
“For the meantime, Marina should allow it. It’s very hard and inconvenient for us to get a ride,” said Keren Durana, a Guimaras resident who works in Iloilo City.
This was after Marina denied the request of the Guimaras provincial government to extend the use of the wooden-hulled boats, locally known as pump boats. The Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) for the wooden-hulled boats expired last December 31, 2020.
Marina is bent on implementing its modernized boat transportation program, especially after 31 people were killed when two wooden-hulled passenger boats capsized hours apart in an August 2019 sea tragedy.
Durana, who works an accounting staff, said passengers spend anywhere from an hour to two hours waiting for available modernized boats and ferry boats.
“You spend that time lining up and waiting for a ride instead of being productive. We encounter problems such as being late to work or come home late to our families,” Durana told The Manila Bulletin.
Guimaras resident Donna Mercine decided to temporarily rent an apartment in Iloilo City due to the transportation woes.
Mercine echoed Durana’s plea to Marina citing that there were not enough modernized boats to accommodate passengers who cross daily between Guimaras and Iloilo City, the regional capital of Western Visayas.
The Guimaras provincial government has earlier estimated that about 18,000 people cross daily between Guimaras and Iloilo City.